No matter how healthy you are or what type of diet you follow, there’s no question that filling up on mostly vegetables (especially leafy greens) is the best thing you can do for your gut health, immune system, and of course, your waistline. January and February are always ‘blah’ months. That’s especially true after so much time already clocked on lockdown over the last year. Adding bright colors to your plate is a mood booster in more ways than one. From skin and hair to organ function, our entire body benefits when we’re mindful of keeping greens and organic produce at the top of the menu. But no one wants a boring iceberg salad (no nutrients, really, so what’s the point? Ditto for bottled, processed dressing). So, we are each sharing 2-3 of our top choices when dining or ordering out around town. Here are the salads that sustain us and where we’ll be getting them this winter.
My Current Cravings:
Seasonal Salads – Farm Burger on Charlotte Avenue
It’s obvious that all of the convenient and colorful newer ‘salad’ restaurants are going to have impressive choices when going for the greens, but sometimes it’s fun to seek out offerings at unexpected places. I can honestly say that the (all organic, freshly prepared) two main salads at Farm Burger are some of the best in town in terms of both health and flavor. The Superfood Salad packs kale and butternut squash sprinkled with nutritional yeast, seeds and topped off with a grainy mustard vinaigrette. Their Farm Salad tastes like the South, just healthier. Toasted pecans, bits of apple, local goat cheese, mixed greens, and their amazing ‘goddess’ dressing on the side. For portion control, the salads both come in three sizes, which is a bonus!
Jalisco Salad – Saint Anejo in The Gulch
Mexican food is hard to resist (for me), but thankfully MStreet’s spicy solution to South of the border fix is healthy and filling. Both Romaine and Kale shine with bits of parmesan cheese and house-made dressing. Their Baja Kale Salad is also an adventure in taste with a splash of citrus flavor and lots of crunch. Top it with perfectly grilled salmon, and it’s the ideal ‘clean eating’ order.
Caring for her active son, creating campaigns and events for clients, and regularly showing up for challenging Pure Barre classes keep Lacey Keally moving. She’s not super strict with what she orders, preferring flavor and presentation to regimented ingredients. To keep her fueled during busy work and parenting days, these are the menu items she counts as go-to selections at a few of her favorite restaurants.
The Epice Salad – Epice, 12South
A simple preparation of fresh greens laced with a fig vinaigrette, goat cheese, and toasted almonds with just a hint of Lebanese spice is always on point when the Keally’s visit this intimate dining room.
Toasted Green Wheat Salad – Etc., Green Hills
This one’s a meal, especially if you top it with chicken or shrimp. The kitchen will even put it into a portable wrap with some roasted carrots for eating on the run. Ingredients like chickpeas, sunflower sprouts, and sumac kale shine with crumbles of feta cheese, celery ribbon, golden beet hummus, and a refreshing lemon herb dressing.
Tennessee Thai Salad – Greenery Co. in Hillsboro Village
Those who still miss the convenience of picking up healthy fare from the Provence salad cases in the Village are thrilled with this new fresh fare hotspot. Salads like this one are heavy on flavor but always light on filler or junk. This concoction of veggies, blackened shrimp, and crispy sesame rice is at the top of Lacey’s list.
Lauren Hocker is always up on the latest health trend and makes sure she loads up on greens and superfoods whenever she gets the chance. As an active working mom, she seeks out clean but delicious offerings from places convenient to her clients, home, and office. She’s a great source who loves to share her latest healthy eating finds. These are a couple of those she swears by at the moment.
Tahini Caesar Salad – CAVA in Green Hills
Feeling picky? Not a problem at this mall outpost stop, where building your own salad or bowl suited to your taste and mood is standard. Lauren likes to create her own mix up of crunchy lettuces and vegetables with their signature Tahini Caesar Dressing (served on the side, of course).
Tuscan Kale Salad – North Italia in Green Hills
Just steps away from Cava is the bustling Italian eatery where most tables are overflowing with specialty pizzas and pasta dishes. When the whole EDIT team meets here for lunch, the restaurant’s cheese and charcuterie board is often a given (for the table), while individual salads are soon to follow. Stacie prefers North Italia’s Seasonal Vegetable Salad, dense with fresh, hearty produce rather than lettuce. For Lauren, her first choice is usually the parmesan cheese vinaigrette and addition of charred grapes and crispy pancetta on the kale salad. Absolutely delicious!
You would think she only eats salad from looking at Devan Brown, but her slim and healthy physique isn’t a product of skimpy salads. In fact, she rarely eats them at all unless it’s the starter Kale Salad at Kayne Prime. While not a fan of the traditional plated dish, she still opts for healthy, organic fare almost every day. She just likes her nutrients in a bowl and blended to perfection. These are her two top orders.
Acai Bowl – Franklin Juice Company in 12South, East Nashville, and Franklin
Her favorite (KONA) bowl may look like dessert but is a nutrient-packed meal or snack that’s hard to beat. Hemp seeds, spirulina, organic granola, and fruit combine for balanced taste, texture, and energy-boosting vitamins and minerals.
Teriyaki Quinoa Bowl – True Food Kitchen in Green Hills
We all love this wellness driven haven- the entire menu is guilt-free goodness. For the bowl, a little sweet and a bit spicy with powerhouse ingredients like broccoli, mushrooms, avocado, and toasted sesame make this one of Devan’s preferred ‘eating-right’ meals.
Even if you find yourself in a ‘not so healthy’ establishment where big pasta platters or steaks are the norm, it’s always best to start with a salad (fuel those cells, people!). Instead of versions loaded with processed additions and trans-fat dressings, look for simple and locally sourced salads. Dining at locally owned eateries is always a good idea, as is eating what is grown or raised nearby. These are solid choices that won’t disappoint:
- Spring Mix Salad with Grilled Salmon – Bottlecap in 12th South District.
- Salad Bar – Sperry’s in Belle Meade (Build Your Own and use a splash of oil and vinegar to dress)
- Shaved Asparagus Salad – Adele’s in The Gulch/Midtown
- Blackened Shrimp Caesar – Valentino’s in Midtown
- Rocket Salad with Grilled Salmon or Chicken—Whiskey Kitchen
- Palm Beach Salad—Bricktops, all locations (ideal for Keto fans)
- Tomato Salad—Park Café in Sylvan Park
- Salad Architect—Choose every morsel to make it your own at any Frothy Monkey location.